Swapping his disruptive nature of spearheading Liverpool's attack at Anfield for a chilled out appearance at the adidas Oxford Street Store in London, Roberto Firmino sat down with SoccerBible to talk about his journey from Brazil to Merseyside, and how that path has shaped his fine career.

Brigning a modern punch of Brazilian flair to the Premier League and a German work rate that has installed him as Jurgen Klopp's frontman, Roberto Firmino has a unique footballing D.N.A. that has allowed him to flourish on the European scene. From roots to boots, we catch ten minutes with Liverpool's number 9.  


Roberto, how was your summer break?

I enjoyed it very much thank you. I spent most of my time in Brazil and I had a lot of fun, responsibly of course! After two or three weeks I was already looking forward to coming back, and about half way through my break I started to work to prepare for pre-season and to come back feeling fresh to start the new campaign.

Congratulations on getting married. How much fun was it to share the experience with your Liverpool teammates?

I was very happy and honoured that they were there. It was a long trip for them. I feel very close to the players and colleagues at the club so it was great for them to come over and for them to be my best men. In Brazil we have several best men. Everyone enjoyed the wedding and the party afterwards, and I’m so happy they could share that day with me.

It's always nice to head home. How would you describe your football upbringing in Brazil?

I think that footballers are born with a gift but that you can make your own talent better as you grow older. I played a lot when I was young. I fought a lot and I struggled a lot too, but I would fight every day to become better and be where I am today.


What are your memories of moving from your hometown as a 16 year-old to Figueirense in Serie B?

The first year that I moved away from home was very hard for me. I was only 16 but I didn't let that interfere as I was very focused on achieving my goals and knew I had a great opportunity to reach the top of the game. Being away from my family was tough at the beginning but I knew that if I did work hard and achieved what I wanted to achieve then the rewards would follow and I would be able to see my family more and look after them.

Your evolution as a player is an interesting one. Didn't you start out as a defender?

Yeah that’s true. When I was very young I started playing as a defensive midfielder, I also played as a right back and also as a central defender but mostly as a defensive midfielder. As I got older the coaches kept moving me forwards until I was playing as an offensive midfielder and striker, which is where I love playing now. It feels natural and allows me to express myself.


You've just been called up to the Brazil squad. How much does it mean to you when you’re called up to the national team?

I always feel proud when I get called up to the Brazil squad. I’m proud because I love my country but I’m also proud of myself because it means I have been working hard and playing well for Liverpool, and the national team call is recognition of that.

What were some of your best memories of watching Brazil as a child?

I’m lucky to have great memories of watching the national team growing up. I was a big fan when Brazil were playing in the World Cup, I’d wake up at whatever time the team were playing so I could watch. The World Cup in 2002 was the one I remember most, I remember waking up at really strange times to watch every game because it was in South Korea and Japan.

Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Rivaldo. Who was your favourite player to watch?

Ronaldinho. Definitely Ronaldinho.

When do you remember realising you had the ability and potential to reach the top level?

I had a lot of idols when I was growing up, like Ronaldinho, and I’d always try to mimic the way that they played. I realised that I could quickly do what they were doing and that’s when I suppose I realised that I could perhaps follow them in what they did with their careers.

When I was 16 or 17 I already had it in my head that I wanted to be one of those idols, but between 10-15 was when I first started trying mimic my idols. As time went on I felt the gap in ability became smaller between me and my idols.


Your style of play has been described as Brazilian fair mixed with German work rate. Would you agree with that?

For me that’s the perfect combination. Having the Brazilian style play and a German mentality is a blessing. 

Away from the pitch you're into your fashion. What are your favourite fashion brands right now?

I like Gucci and Hugo Boss too. I’m always looking for new trends and to wear something new that I might wear for a period of time, but I like to keep things fresh and change my style.

You're wearing the adidas Nemeziz this season. You wore the ACE last year. What was the switch like?

The ACE boot was very good but the Nemeziz fits perfectly for me. I love the design of the boot and I’m excited to see what new colours they release throughout the season.

Shop the adidas Nemeziz collection at prodirectsoccer.com

Photography by Ossi Piispanen for SoccerBible.